Dyer Straight: Opening Day even more memorable for former Reds catcher, Ohio HS state championship coach

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Dyer Straight

By Mike Dyer

Roger Bacon back at state for first time since taking down the King and SVSM in 2002, Spartans focused

The Cincinnati Reds were always Bill Dreisbach’s favorite baseball team.
So when the catcher was drafted by the Reds in the 31st round in 1991, it was a natural fit.
Dreisbach was in the Reds minor league system from 1991-96 and had an opportunity to be a Major League bullpen catcher from ’93 to ’96.
Dyer-Column“I learned so much in those four years,” said Dreisbach, who is the Lakota West head baseball coach. “To be able to hang around and listen to the great minds in baseball and a chance to travel” was a great opportunity.
Dreisbach has undoubtedly used those formative experiences for his high school baseball coaching career. He likes to be known as a players’ coach because he understands what they are going through on all levels of the game.
And on Monday night (March 31), the Firebirds coach won his 300th career game in a 5-0 win over district rival Lakota East – a celebration not only for his efforts but for the entire Greater Miami Conference program which he has coached since its inception in the 1997-98 school year.
The occasion was also fitting given it was the Reds’ Opening Day.
“It was great. Our players played really well. ….It was just a great day for baseball and Lakota West baseball,” said Dreisbach, who is 300-171.
“Not only was it my 300th win but the program’s 300th win.”
Lakota West standout pitcher Grant Schuermann (Furman commit) pitched a complete game shutout and had nine strikeouts in allowing just four hits. The teams were scheduled to play Wednesday afternoon but were rained out and hope to make up the game on Thursday.
“Each and every year they are always good,” said Lakota East coach Ray Hamilton, who has known Dreisbach for a long time prior to coaching high school baseball.
Hamilton won his 400th career game in 2013 and says Dreisbach’s teams are always consistent and give a top flight effort each day.
“He’s a great guy,” Hamilton said. “(Lakota West) will always do the little things to win. …He is great for the kids and high school baseball.”
Dreisbach said it was a little more special with the milestone win coming against East on Monday given his respect for Hamilton. “He is a great coach,” Dreisbach said.
Dreisbach received a congratulatory banner from the school on Monday night for his milestone win and a photo of him with his players was tweeted on the athletic department account.
Lakota West won the Division I state title in 2007 and have won two regional championships and six district titles. Two of his former players are currently in the minors – pitcher Nathan Smith is with the Angels organization and Jacob May is with the White Sox system.
Dreisbach said it’s easy to point to the championships as the recognition for his program but he is most proud of the year to year consistency. Lakota West has not had a losing season in 16 years. He said his proudest moments are the relationships he has built with current and former players – sounding awfully similar to his days with the Reds.
Dreisbach, a 1988 Gahanna Lincoln graduate, played at Ohio University before he transferred to West Liberty State.
When former Reds general manager Jim Bowden offered him the bullpen catching opportunity, Dreisbach said he enjoyed getting to know some of the Reds pitchers of the 1990s like Jose Rijo (the best pitcher he worked with) and Pete Schourek (who was second to Greg Maddux in Cy Young voting in 1995).
Dreisbach also threw batting practice and assisted in any ways that were needed on the field.
“I’ve got a great passion for baseball,” said Dreisbach. “I’ve played it my whole life. Opening Day truly is a holiday in our house.”

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